When legendary actress Jada Pinkett Smith spoke out against the Oscars last month and announced that she was boycotting the ceremony for not nominating any Black actors in two years, the world took notice and all eyes fell on the Oscars and their neglect of diversity. Since then, the Academy has announced that they plan to make changes to be more inclusive. But in a new interview, Smith claims that she’s not convinced that they fully understand the issue at hand.
As previously reported, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, responded to Smith and the “OscarsSoWhite” criticisms by announcing that the Academy would be implementing new measures to increase diversity. The new measures included narrowing members’ voting limits, identifying and recruiting new members, and immediately establishing three new governor seats.
“The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up,” said Isaacs. “These new measures regarding governance and voting will have an immediate impact and begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition.”
However, in a new interview, Smith spoke about the Academy’s new measures to include more Black voters and she explained that adding more Black people isn’t enough.
“Of course, I think that’s necessary. But I’m also hoping that the Academy understands that it’s not just about having more Black voters in order to give the connotation that Black people vote Black, but that the Academy as a whole — we all need to, as human beings, get to know each other. Expand our education about everyone,” Smith said.
Smith then turned her attention to Idris Elba infamously being snubbed at this year’s Oscars for his critically acclaimed role in Beasts of No Nation.
“Some of the things I’d heard was, like, Beasts of No Nation was too difficult of a movie to watch. Maybe, but partly the reason that we have art is so that we can come out of our comfort zones and get to know about different cultures and different realities. And I must admit, Idris’ performance in that movie was fantastic. So if we’re gonna have awards shows, it’s not about watching movies based on preference necessarily, especially if we claim that it’s about merit. But we need to watch movies because, it we’re having awards shows, we have to make sure that we are committed to being inclusive to everything,” Smith said.
We couldn’t have said it better.